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Source: New South Wales Community and Justice

At the start of a new year, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our colleagues and sector partners for your contribution to our achievements so far. Together, we’re making a measurable difference to the lives of children, young people and families, and we have much more good work to come.

You can read more about our progress in our new report which you can access here.

A key initiative of Their Futures Matter and the NSW Government is the Access System Redesign, and we’re inviting our stakeholders to contribute to a new vision to ensure all children, young people and families have a pathway to early support when they need it. Last week we published a consultation paper and evidence review and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Planning for our 2019 Their Futures Matter Conference: Improving Outcomes Together is coming along well. Our program includes keynote speaker  Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families in the Scottish Government, Elisabeth Murphy who will present on the First 2000 Days, and TFM Board member Dr Nigel Lyons. Registrations have opened for day one of the conference (Tuesday 12 February) and the response has been fantastic.

You can also learn about two new pilots to improve responses to vulnerable children, young people and families, in the update below.

We look forward to continuing more great work together in 2019.

Gary Groves
Executive Director

The Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) has been commissioned to deliver a new evidence-informed program – OurSPACE, in NSW.
OurSPACE, which stands for ‘Stable, Predictable, Attuned, Connected and Empowered’, was designed to help children and young people, aged 15 and under, and their carers to manage the symptoms of trauma. Its primary focus will be improving family relationships and supporting the stability of placements of young people.
Dr Joe Tucci, the CEO of Australian Childhood Foundation commented on the new partnership:

“The relationships between foster and kinship carers provide continual moments of repair that help children to trust, accept comfort and become open to love around them. We will work towards increasing placement stability and improving developmental outcomes of children in care. It is a significant investment on the part of the NSW Government and critical to meeting the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children.”

ACF has more than 15 years of experience in providing therapeutic support to children and young people in out-of-home care and their carers in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory. In NSW, OurSpace will be delivered flexibly and responsively according to needs, offering support ranging from consultation to more intensive tailored therapeutic care.
ACF will work closely with other stakeholders and complement programs in NSW, such as the Permanency Support Program and My Forever Family. Aboriginal children, young people and their families will further benefit from ACF’s partnership with Ngaoara.
The program will be available across NSW, excluding Hunter New England and Nepean Blue Mountains where trauma treatment services are already in place.
It is anticipated that up to 2,700 children and their carers will benefit from OurSPACE services over the duration of the contract, until June 2020.

The OurSPACE referral number is 1300 381 581.

TFM contact for this initiative: Kim Dule, Manager, email


Have your say.

Moving the system from crisis to early help: connecting children, young people and families to the right support at the right time

We are seeking feedback about the future access system for vulnerable children, young people and families.

Access the consultation paper and materials here.

This collaborative consultation process over the following months begins with this discussion paper. We seek comments, feedback and ideas relevant to the reform directions outlined in the paper. We’re particularly interested in hearing about successful models, innovations or practices that have been or are currently being considered or implemented in NSW or in other jurisdictions.

We welcome your submissions and comments by:

Their Futures Matter
Department of Family and Community Services
Locked Bag 10
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012.

Please send your feedback by close of business on 29 March 2019.


Supporting families and their needs.

In November 2018, Their Futures Matter, together with FACS and services providers, achieved a milestone of 1,000 families across NSW receiving evidence-based support via therapeutic models Functional Family Therapy through Child Welfare (FFT-CW®) and Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN®), since their launch in August 2017.
This could not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the families who committed to the program and their determination to achieve positive change. Early results and feedback received from families that have completed FFT-CW® and MST-CAN® and their therapists give hope to many children and their families in NSW.
Families are referred to FFT-CW® and MST-CAN® if a report has been made to FACS about the safety of a child. However, the impact of these two programs is much greater, and it is not just the child who benefits from the services, but the whole family. Both FFT-CW® and MST-CAN® address individual needs of each family member and to prevent children and young people being placed in an out-of-home care arrangement wherever possible.
By celebrating and sharing these promising outcomes, TFM also aims to inspire our service providers and other key stakeholders to continue their great work delivering both programs.

TFM contact for this initiative: Jess Byrne, A/g Manager, email 


Register now for the 2019 Their Futures Matter Conference: Improving Outcomes Together.

Registrations are now open for day one of our 2019 Conference on Tuesday, 12 February. Join over 500 colleagues from across government and non-government organisations at this major sector event. Learn more about the TFM reform agenda, and find out how we can work together to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children, young people, and families.

The day two programme (workshop sessions) is now available here.

Confirmed speakers for the conference include:
  • Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families, Scottish Government
  • Stan Grant, award-winning Journalist and Presenter
  • Dorothy Adams, Acting Chief Executive, Social Investment Agency (NZ)
  • Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary Strategy and Resources, NSW Ministry of Health & Board Member, Their Futures Matter Implementation Board
  • Gary Groves, Executive Director, Their Futures Matter
  • Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary, Department of Family and Community Services


Working together to deliver an improved response.

The Access System Redesign team in TFM has partnered with target Community Service Centres (CSCs) to trial two pilots to improve the rate and quality of responses provided to children and young at risk of significant harm (RoSH), and provide early supports for those who either do not meet the RoSH threshold or, following a FACS assessment, are found to not be in need of care and protection.
The two pilots are a collaborative partnership between the Access System Redesign team and target CSCs, and one of the Pilots is also working with the FACS Helpline to assess the capacity of CSCs to provide increased responses to children and young people at RoSH.
Northern NSW District Streamlined Response Pilot (SRP)
SRP is working to improve the quality of RoSH reports transferred to CSCs and increase face-to-face responses to 100%, through the development of differential response pathways. The pilot has been active in Ballina and Tweed Heads since October 2018. Collaborative partnerships have been established with Education and Health Child and Wellbeing Units (CWUs) to respond to non-RoSH reports, and a local service provider with respond either jointly with the CSC or solely to reports that meet the RoSH threshold.
South Western Sydney Collaborative Support Pathways Pilot
This pilot aims to improve cross-sector collaboration and service delivery to ensure that all vulnerable children and young people at RoSH receive support matched to their individual circumstances. Working with the FACS Helpline, the pilot will map existing responses and trial new processes across the Bankstown, Liverpool and Fairfield CSCs to test the capacity to deliver a service response to all children and young people at RoSH and their families.
The changes being implemented as part of these pilots focus on improving processes and information sharing, and providing more support for staff and enhanced visibility of the broader service system.

For more information on these pilots please email the Access System Redesign team at